Indianapolis – United States Attorney Josh Minkler and IMPD Chief Brian Roach together announced a legacy art project that will adorn the gymnasium walls of the IMPD Southwest Police District for many years to come.
“I am pleased to see our community working together to honor the brave officers of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department with the one word that always comes to mind when we think of law enforcement: COURAGE,” said Minkler. “Rather than the conflict narrative we hear about so often, this project represents a legacy created by our youth working with our police department to build something that will benefit our city in the future. This project is symbolic of 5th and 6th grade girls from Daniel Webster, serving a cause much greater than themselves; building community trust. For these girls, that took courage.”
“This mural is a testament to the talents of our richest treasure – our youth,” said Chief Roach. “Our community is encouraged, inspired, filled with a sense of zeal, that when provided with the needed resources and given the appropriate opportunities our youth can achieve amazing and lasting accomplishments.”
U.S. Attorney employees and officers from the IMPD Southwest District partnered for over eight weeks with 23 young 5th and 6th grade girls from IPS Daniel Webster Elementary (DWES) School on an after-school project intended to address issues of self-worth, confidence and self-esteem. Both offices invested time and mentoring partners to encourage the girls to follow their dreams and see themselves as beautiful.
The self-portraits created by the students will be featured in a large mural permanently displayed in the IMPD Southwest District Roll Call site, 551 N. King Avenue, not far from DWES. The after-school workshops encouraged the girls to reject inappropriate labels, increase their self-respect and their respect for others., The mural entitled COURAGE, will serve as a legacy to remind participants and everyone entering the building the important lessons learned during the eight-week project.
The US Attorney’s Office and IMPD collaborated with Holly and Dave Combs, co-founders of the Department of Public Words and Art with A Heart to facilitate the program.
"It was an honor for Dave and I to be a part of the most loving, dynamic, and diverse collection of people in our classroom ever,” said Holly Combs. “Every person that came to class should know that they are stars and they're beautiful."
“Our middle school girls have benefitted immensely from the partnership with our friends at the US Attorney’s Office and IMPD,” said Daniel Webster Principal Karen E. Linn. “When we began with our initial orientation meeting, there were stares and polite grins all around, and we weren’t quite sure how we would connect. Now our girls run and hug their mentors and every time we get together, it’s like reuniting with family. The Art with A Heart program has taught our girls to stand taller, speak positively about their futures, and envision themselves as future professional women with choices and the confidence to define their own destinies. Thank you, dear friends, for the gift of you!”